UNFPA Response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

Photo Credit: UNFPA Philippines

The  strongest storm ever recorded struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013, killing thousands of people and leaving millions homeless across a wide path of devastation in 10 provinces. Of the more than 14 million people affected, more than 3.5 million are women and girls of child-bearing age.

Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, destroyed or damaged hundreds of health care facilities and disrupted services, putting the affected population in greater danger of illness and death. UNFPA estimates that there are more than 250,000 pregnant and 169,000 breastfeeding women in the typhoon-hit areas. Some 1,000 childbirths are taking place every day, with 150 women expected to experience potentially life-threatening complications.

Women and girls displaced from their homes are more vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence and to trafficking.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is part of the coordinated international response to Haiyan, assisting the Philippine Government in restoring services and providing protection and care for those affected. It is taking a lead role in ensuring reproductive and sexual health including safe childbirth, and in addressing the protection needs of women and girls.

Among its priorities to support the affected communities, UNFPA is working to:

  • Help determine reproductive health and protection needs, as part of interagency assessment teams.
  • Provide clinical delivery equipment, essential supplies and medicines for health centres and temporary birthing facilities.
  • Provide clean delivery kits for pregnant women – supplies that reduce the risk of fatal infections for those who cannot access a clinic.
  • Help restore primary health care services, including basic emergency obstetric care.
  • Distribute hygiene kits to women and girls of childbearing age, especially to those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Provide psychosocial services to displaced people.
  • Establish women-friendly spaces in displacement centres, and train camp managers on prevention measures.
  • Strengthen the capacity of police and local governments to prevent and manage gender-based violence.

For pregnant women displaced by Typhoon Haiyan, UNFPA has assembled “dignity kits” filled with essential supplies for survival and personal hygiene. Each kit costs $25. Donate a dignity kit today!

As part of the UN’s Typhoon Haiyan Action Plan, UNFPA is seeking $30 million from international donors to address these priorities.

Impact of Typhoon Haiyan (as of February 2014) :

  • Total affected population: 14.1 million
  • People displaced: 4.1 million
  • Women of child-bearing age: 3.5 million
  • Pregnant women: 254,117
  • Breastfeeding mothers (with babies 0-6 months): 169,412


18 June 2014

Filipino police officer credits UNFPA training for helping her uncover human trafficking case

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – A female police officer who intercepted four people suspected of trafficking five girls from an area affected by Typhoon Haiyan attributes her alertness to the training on human trafficking she received from UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. more
19 February 2014

More Support Still Needed for Health, Protection of Women and Girls 100 Days After Typhoon Haiyan

UNITED NATIONS, New York — One hundred days after typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines and left behind massive destruction and loss of lives, much remains to be done to fully bring affected communities back on their feet. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, estimates that there are more than 250,000 pregnant and 169,000 breastfeeding women in the typhoon-hit areas. Some 1,000 childbirths are taking place every day, with 150 expected to experience potentially life-threatening complications. more
31 January 2014

UNFPA Official Hails Heroism of Haiyan Health Workers

LEYTE, Philippines — UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, acknowledged the heroism of health workers in Typhoon Haiyan-affected areas who continued to serve their communities, despite having been affected by the disaster themselves. more
31 December 2013

First Tacloban Born Baby in 2014

Tacloban, Philippines - UNFPA was planning to share the good news of the safe birth of the first baby of 2014 born in Tacloban in the Philippines. However, the baby who was born a little past midnight by caesarean-section in the city’s main medical centre and its mother are both not doing well. The baby is still in the neonatal intensive care with a weak heartbeat. The mother, who suffers from hypertension, is still in the operating room. more
16 December 2013

Women’s Health Critical for Recovery in Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, Says UNFPA Executive Director

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — The international community must make women’s health a priority as typhoon-hit areas in the Philippines begin reconstruction and recovery, said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, following a visit to the provinces of Leyte and Eastern Samar. more
12 December 2013

Volunteers Provide Aid and Hope in Wake of Super Typhoon

TACLOBAN, Philippines — Young volunteers are assisting UNFPA in providing critical care to pregnant and lactating women affected by super typhoon Haiyan. For many young people, volunteering has become a way to cope with the devastation while making a difference in their communities. more